ORLANDO — All-Star Friday is essentially one big mess. The players all pour in for a 30-minute availability and hundreds of reporters jockey for position and their time to ask a question. And then there’s the wacky foreign media that are either asking wild questions or trying to get the player to say how they’re watching some foreign TV station.
Two Thunderers plus Scott Brooks took part in the circus and here are a few notes:
- I asked Russell Westbrook why he’s never been in the dunk contest: “They ask me every time. During the time, I just don’t be up to it. I just don’t be feeling it. I don’t know … I wanted to do it my rookie year … I guess I’ll just use it in the games.”
- Via Henry Abbott, Scott Brooks said, “He misses some of the most spectacular dunks I’ve ever seen.” I asked Westbrook why he thinks he misses dunks and he said, “I just try and dunk way too hard.”
- KD was asked about the Denver game where he had 51 and Westbrook had 40: “Me and Russell had 91 points and after that game all I could think about was ‘Wow, how did Kobe get 81 points by himself in one game?’”
- KD has easily the second biggest swarm around him for the Western All-Stars, behind Kobe. But since Kobe ended up blowing off the availability, by default KD was the most popular Western star.
- Westbrook was asked which player he’d pay money himself to watch. He repeated the question back and then said, “Kevin … (pause) … Love.”
- Scott Brooks on Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game: “Mind boggling. I played more than a decade and I don’t know if I even scored 100 points.”
- KD on seeing Seattle signs at games that say “Seattle drafted Durant”: ” Yeah, I mean they did. I played there for a year. I can’t just throw them to the side because I’m in Oklahoma City now. That was the first city I lived in, in the NBA. We had to move and it was tough for the fans of Seattle and I wish it didn’t go down the way it did, but I’m enjoying Oklahoma City. I still love Seattle. It will always have a place in my heart.”
- KD on what James Harden and Kobe were talking about last night: “We were just jawing about All-Star Weekend.”
- An example of why Dirk Nowitzki is awesome: As me and colleague Ben Golliver were sitting at a table, Dirk walked by with a slurpee and pointed at a photographer’s computer screen and said, “Hey, that’s me right there!” And then just walked on.
- KD was asked about his scoring titles. “Scoring titles are cool. I did that the last two years. I’m excited I did it. But that time is over. I’m just worried about winning now.”
- Westbrook on why his assists might be down: “I’m not sure. I’m just trying to make the right make the basketball play and find guys when they’re open.”
- KD was asked about Dwight Howard some and how superstar players have handled all the trade talk surrounding them and if he’s taking note for the future when his deal runs out in five years. His answer is something worth framing: “The notes I’m taking don’t even go down that road,” he said. “I like being in Oklahoma City. I enjoy everything about it. Whenever the time comes for me to re-up on my deal I know Sam Presti is going to be right there at my door or texting me or something to get something going.”
- KD on giving advice to other players about moving teams: “Just do what is right in your heart, to be honest. For me it’s a perfect thing to stay in Oklahoma City. It’s something I believe in. I really love my teammates and my community, my coaches — everybody. The fans that come to the game and support us, the workers in the arena. Everybody that I’ve built a relationship with these past four years. This is a perfect place for me. But if I had advice for anybody else it’s just to go with your heart and do what you think is right.”
- Via Ben Golliver, Rajon Rondo was asked about missing Perk and responded in a very deadpan way: “I don’t want to start any trade rumors but Kendrick Perkins is getting traded back to the Celtics.”
- Westbrook on if he approaches games as a one-on-one with the other point guard: “When the game starts, I don’t really have too many friends. We can chat after the game, but when the game starts… that’s how I was brought up and that’s how I was taught.”